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Created by Diane Brown, Buena Beach is an online soap opera, giving up all the juicy details of some of the hottest guys and gals of Buena Beach, a small town in Southern California. Check back everyday for a new episode here on HelloBeautiful.com.

Mario

“Sandy, we’ll have to postpone our lunch meeting until tomorrow. I just got a call from Hanan…gotta run.”

She stops herself from pouting and tells me that it’s fine before turning back to her computer. Sure, she’s disappointed. And so am I since our lunch meeting was to happen at her place, where we’d be investigating how long we could do it in her non-air-conditioned apartment before one of us broke into a sweat, and then we’d see if moving the action to the shower would mitigate things. With the temperature threatening to top the century mark, we probably wouldn’t have been at it very long before she chased me into the bathroom. Yah, pretty disappointing. Perhaps we’ll have to do a dinner meeting – don’t know if I can wait until tomorrow.

But I definitely can’t do lunch today. After dozens of phone calls, Hanan (known to most people as the Honorable Mayor Certig) finally called me back just now saying she’ll be here to pick me up for a chat in four minutes. I’ve never been one to let a speed limit slow me down, but even I can’t make it from City Hall to the Recreation Office in four minutes. But I don’t let that little detail stop me from hurrying outside to await the mayor’s Town Car.

Ten minutes later, she arrives and I join her in the back seat. As usual, she’s clothed from neck to toe, wrist to wrist, even with the hot June weather. Unfortunately for me, she doesn’t like air conditioning either, so even though my plans with Sandy were changed, I’m still going to end up a hot sweaty mess when this is all done. But whatever I can do to get a handle on this Danny situation, I’ll deal with it. When Mayor Hanan put me in charge two weeks ago, she assured me that I’d be in the Acting position for at least two months, telling me that she was forcing Danny to take time off while they investigated his role in the whole Calvin situation; that the part about him taking the time to de-stress what just a charade. So I was more than a little agitated yesterday when I found him back in his office, a smug smile on his face as he admonished me for coming in late.

“Mario! Como esta?” she asks, I suppose anxious to show off the Spanish phrases she used during her quick trip to Cancun.

“I’m okay,” I say as the driver takes off, not in the mood to humor her. “So. Danny’s back.”

“I know. I recommended it.”

She recommended it? I was expecting her to be as shocked and upset as I was. “You did? But…why? What, is it a union thing?”

“No, nothing like that. His superior took full responsibility for the Calvin Shore incident. He’s off the hook.”

Off the hook? That’s ridiculous. “But Calvin did all that dirt right under Danny’s nose. There has to be some accountability on his part.” Yah, I’m whining, sounding desperate as heck. But this was my chance. Two months in that position and I could have done some things to make everyone stand up and pay attention. Sure, the mayor is priming me and all, but her timeline is at a crawl. This was an opportunity to be in full control of my destiny. I know I kind of got off to a rocky start, but I was just getting settled.

“Look, Mario. I know you’re disappointed, but this is the way things go. Anyway, that’s water through the tunnel.”

“Under the bridge.”

“Whatever. We’ve got a couple of bigger issues to address.”

That’s her opinion. I can’t think of anything worse than what she’s just told me. “What is it?”

She gives me the ‘one second, please’ finger and leans forward to address her driver. “Johnny, go down the street and get me some of those tacos from the stand. Yes, right there on the corner.” Then she turns to me and asks, “You want something?”

“No, I’m alright,” I say, appetite gone since she informed me about her recommendation.

“Well, looks like there’s a community group that’s going to file a complaint against the Recreation Commission. Got word they’re talking to the Buena Beach Sundial, too.”

Yah, so…? That’s nothing new. We always get those wackos threatening to file complaints against the Commission.

“It’s a group that disagreed with one of the motions that passed. They say the process was flawed and want the vote rescinded.”

“Can that happen?” I ask, still not sure how this is our problem.

Hanan scratches her chin and then rolls down the window. “Hey, Johnny. Don’t let them stiff you on the salsa – be sure to tell them the tacos are for Mayor Certig,” she yells outside to her driver before turning back to me. “Their claim is that the Commission bylaws weren’t followed because the meeting announcement and agenda weren’t posted 48 hours in advance.”

“But Hanan, you told me to delay the posting, remember?”

She shakes her head and gives a hearty guffaw. “Now Mario, you know I have no such authority.”

This is incredible. The mayor sold me out. Sandy warned me not to trust her, but I was too caught up. I guess, perhaps, maybe I shouldn’t be in Danny’s position if I wasn’t astute enough to see this coming. I’m screwed. “But, Hanan….”

“I know, I know. It was a rookie mistake. How would you know to tell me to go screw myself when I told you to delay the posting?”

Unbelievable. Here I was, ready to fight for the Acting position; now, I might not even have my own position. “So, what now?”

“Well, Danny’s preparing a statement for the City Manager’s office. And it looks like we have no choice but to schedule a special session next week, which means more taxpayer dollars, more photocopies, more electricity. It’s just a mess, Mario. A mess.”

All I can do is shake my head, sweat dripping onto my lap.

“I’m also recommending that you be demoted down to a Coordinator I.”

“What?” I say, loudly enough for Johnny to walk towards the rear of the car and try to peek in the window to see if things are okay.

“I know, doll. I know. It just isn’t fair, but it will look bad if I don’t take any action.”

“But, again, you don’t have that sort of authority.”

She laughs at me again, like I’m some precocious youngster. “Oh, now you want to question my authority? Well, it’s true – that type of decision is technically out of my purview. But it’s a recommendation from the mayor – who’s not going to listen to that?” she says as Johnny gets back inside, hands Hanan her tacos, and takes off again.

“Well, who makes the final decision?”

“Danny, of course. He’s the boss.”

Alright. That’s it – I’m done. I need to get out of this car before I go off on this lady. I’m the last fella to hit a woman, but wouldn’t mind taking one of those tacos and smashing it in her face, extra salsa and all. “Johnny, can you pull over, please?”

“Mario, come on. Don’t be mad. This is little, really. Things will blow over in a few weeks, and we’ll get back on track.”

“Right here, Johnny. Please,” I insist.

Hanan leans back in her seat. “Fine. Johnny, you heard the man. Pull over. He can have a nice walk down the beach back to the office.”

This is what I get for blowing off Sandy. I’d have been just as sweaty, but at least I’d be in a good mood. Then again, the inevitable would’ve caught up with me eventually. I’d have learned secondhand how the mayor had used me.

As I exit the car and slam the door, Hanan rolls down the window and sticks her head out just enough for me to hear her clearly. “Oh, and one more thing, Mario, and please don’t take this out on poor Cynthia. Last week, your wife gladly accepted my invitation to become the newest member on the Commission, effective today.”

I’m gonna kick this bitch’s ass.

“And if you try to dissuade her or threaten her or otherwise make her feel bad for taking the appointment, well I just might have to tell her how cozy you and your skanky little assistant were at my party. See ya, doll,” she hollers as her driver pulls away.

Luckily, I’m outside alongside the beach…because I’m gonna vomit.

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